Disney Torpedoed ‘Haunted Mansion’ in Theaters and Is Now Botching Its Streaming Release
The release of Disney’s Haunted Mansion will go down as one of the biggest studio mismanagements in recent history.
While Disney has seen more surprising box-office disappointments (Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny) and bigger bombs (Strange World), I can’t remember a film whose release was botched more than Haunted Mansion.
Overshadowed By “Barbenheimer”
In Disney’s defense, circumstances conspired to sink Mansion at the box office. The film was released on July 28, 2023, one week after “Barbenheimer” dominated theaters in unprecedented ways.
Going up against Barbie and Oppenheimer a week after the two films shattered box-office records meant that for many moviegoers, Haunted Mansion was simply an afterthought.
The lack of attention paid to the film was exasperated by the fact that the SAG-AFTRA strike began just as Haunted Mansion was set to premiere at Disneyland. This meant that the film’s star-studded cast, which included Rosario Dawson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Owen Wilson, Danny Devito, Tiffany Haddish, LaKeith Stanfield, and Jared Leto, could not promote the film.
What doomed the Haunted Mansion, however, was not Barbie, Oppenheimer, or SAG-AFTRA, it was Disney.
Why Disney Chose A Summer Release
By releasing the film out of season in an attempt to create a summer blockbuster, Disney set Haunted Mansion up to fail. Without the buildup and atmosphere of Halloween on the horizon, Mansion seemed like just another random summer release. In the end, the film bombed in theaters, bringing in less than $120 million, a paltry number for a movie that had a $150 million budget.
While a summer release was never going to give Haunted Mansion the best chance at box-office success, Disney may have an ulterior motive.
By releasing the film in July, Disney set Haunted Mansion up to land on Disney+ in October, just in time for Halloween.
Interestingly, however, instead of releasing the film on Friday, October 13, which seems like a no-brainer, Haunted Mansion will debut on Disney+ earlier in the month on October 4.
From beginning to end, Disney has botched the release of Haunted Mansion. There is no reason for a film based on a popular Disney attraction, with a star-studded cast, and decent reviews from critics, to struggle in the way Mansion has.
In the end, it wasn’t director Justin Simien, the film’s source material, or Disney fans that Disney has to blame for the film’s failure.
The Haunted Mansion failed because of Disney.
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